The Covid-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc in the lives and minds of people across India. The social fabric quickly disintegrated against the unprecedented spread of the virus which caught everyone by surprise. The gruesome situation revealed deep fissures in neighbourhoods and the spirit of people where nobody was ready to even lift the bodies of the dead and in many cases, there was nobody to provide food, water, or medicine to those struck by the disease. Children orphaned by parents’ untimely deaths were going hungry with no one to look after them. Survivors of Bride Trafficking have become the worst affected people who are not even being counted in the statistics of Covid victims.
Considering these devastating times, Empower People is operating several Community Emergency Response mechanisms for reviving the spirit of people and providing the necessary resources and training for surviving and managing the crisis.
Delhi-NCR Covid Emergency Relief
The onset of the second wave caught everyone unawares and while members of our organisation were also affected, we started receiving desperate calls for help from professionals and middle-class families in home isolation who did not have the means or access to critical medicines or food. We run services to supply the essentials for those having no other source for the same. The initial phase of emergency work went largely undocumented because of the sheer intensity of panic and distress that was prevalent at the time with the team having a primary focus of ensuring survival of Covid patients in crisis.
Covid Resources Availability Verification and Update
Sensing a severe lack of a reliable source for real-time information regarding the availability of resources to fight Covid-19, be it oxygen, hospital beds, medicines etc., an online resource for one-stop access to timely and verified information was created on the website with daily updates on status of availability of resources.
(Activity concluded on 4 June 2021)
Community Resource Centres at local level
Empower People is setting up Community Resource Centres in villages for dealing with Covid-19 emergencies and extending the necessary care and support to the affected people in their immediate neighbourhood. Considering how the social and familial fabric was destroyed by this pandemic and how people were left alone in their most troubled time, the organization is establishing community isolation centres with active collaboration from local government and mobilising Volunteers and other social spirited persons to establish a community resource centre in their immediate neighbourhood and make a committee to manage the centre. The organization aims to increase the number of centres to meet future challenges which are being predicted by health experts and WHO.
Training at Community Resource Centres
The organisation is equipping the Centres with the necessary resources and training such as how to facilitate isolation to prevent spread, how to safely feed patients, how to respond in a serious case, how and when to get the patient to the hospital etc. The organisation is also helping them be prepared with a plan of how a covid patient can be transferred (transportation in absence of ambulance) to a hospital and how an isolated person can have food. It is also looking into basic relief and food supply to the family of the affected person in case the covid patient is a sole livelihood earner of the family. Most community isolation centres (Resource centres) are divided into two parts- a women’s ward and a men’s ward, where local people can stay following their traditional customs.
Community Awareness and Precautionary supplies
Community emergency response volunteers are reaching out to faraway villages providing them information, enquiring about their health, encouraging them for vaccination and setting up Community isolation centres. Along with spreading awareness of Covid protocols, supplies of masks, sanitisers, thermometers, oximeters, PPE kits are being made available to the villagers in the form of anti-corona kits. Emergency supplies of oxygen, medicines and food are also being extended to the needy. Our Community emergency response team is helping young villagers in understanding pandemics and vaccination and helping them in getting registered for vaccination. Our survivor leaders are also making a difference at the local level in making the neighbourhood safe for the community.
Distribution of ration kits for most deprived
Currently, communities are facing grave challenges in terms of loss of livelihood and rising hunger. Daily wage workers who worked hand-to-mouth are now struggling because of dissolved work opportunities.
Children have been left parentless and widowed women are struggling to meet up with daily needs. The Empower People team is reaching out to the needy and assisting in capping the neglect and distress by providing ration kits which include monthly necessities of food and hygiene supplies to ensure survival with dignity.